Sunday: Happy Bird Day, To Me

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– In case you didn’t read my last post, this is part three in a series of posts about my recent Texas road trip. The first post can be seen here.

I didn’t have an itinerary for Sunday, per se, just some places I wanted to see. The whole point of the road trip was to get outside and enjoy some warm weather.

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My Home-made Sign

Sunshine would have been nice, but that was not to be. Not that I’m complaining.

1_birding center signOvercast skies are actually better for pictures. When the sun is too bright, images get washed out, you have to contend with shadows, you constantly need to worry about the position of the sun, etc.

I set my alarm Saturday night so I could see the sunrise. At least I think I set it. When I woke up at 8:30, much later than expected, I didn’t remember having turned the alarm off. And, looking at my phone, wasn’t able to tell if it had actually been set or not. I was a tad disappointed until I looked outside. It was FOGGY. So, if I had gotten up, I wouldn’t have seen much anyway.

The extra sleep was actually kind of nice. I didn’t waste any more time, though. I grabbed some coffee from the breakfast buffet and then headed off to the the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. It’s actually right in Port Aransas, so it only took me a few minutes to get there.

Before I go much further, I should warn y’all that, as my post title implies, this day was all about birds. I find being out in nature relaxing. And I’ve always enjoyed bird-watching. As it turns out, there were LOTS of birds to be seen. Not only was I in a coastal environment, I was also in a completely different part of the country. Port Aransas, Texas is at about the same longitude as Tampa, Florida. It’s not often that I get to the coast or that far south.

I did take pics of some other stuff, but it’s mostly birds. In all, I shot over 450 pictures. I won’t share them all here, but I did post about 90 on Flickr (link follows this post).

Oh, and one more thing. I’m not a bird photographer. I knew I wouldn’t be capturing stunning bird images. My goal was just to get reasonably clear images of the critters. Bird photography is challenging. You need skill and really good, i.e., expensive, equipment. You try capturing clear images of a bird in flight and see how well you do. With that said, I’m happy with the shots I got. They’re not National Geographic quality, but, for the most part, the birds are at least recognizable.

Of course, I had to spend some time identifying them after-the-fact since most were birds I’d never seen before.

Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

 

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Northern Shoveler

I also visited nearby Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture.

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American White Pelicans (in fog)

 

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Cactus in the marsh. Who knew?

 

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Roseate Spoonbill (not a Pink Flamingo)

 

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Roseate Spoonbill

 

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Birds everywhere!

 

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Ibises

 

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Egrets and others…

The parks were within minutes of each other. I actually went back to the birding center (hoping to see the resident alligators, to no avail) and moseyed around town a bit. I was hoping the fog would lift a bit so I could see the beach.

It didn’t.

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Foggy Beach

So I grabbed some breakfast for lunch…

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Two-thirds of my buffet breakfast.

I’d intended to grab a sandwich. But when I saw that there was a breakfast buffet for $8.95, all I could think of was BACON. I was quite surprised when they offered to prepare eggs for me, any way I liked. Usually buffets have those nasty pans of scrambled eggs. I ordered two over-medium, but they brought me three, along with a nice order of fresh hash browns. I ate about a third of the meal before I remembered the picture. Despite the late hour (around 1:00 PM), everything off of the buffet was still warm and fresh.

Yes, I pigged out.

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Gingerbread House Sand Castle

Then I headed back to the birding center. Slowly but surely the day appeared to be clearing.

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American Coot (they have very strange feet)

 

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Blue-winged Teal

 

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Green Heron (crow-sized)

 

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Northern Shoveler

 

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Green-winged Teal

 

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Ruddy Duck (love that blue bill!)

 

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Green Heron

 

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Brown Pelican diving at a crazy angle.

The foggy finally started lifting in the late afternoon, so I did actually get to go to the beach. I even walked in the water for a while.

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Ah… toes in the sand. And water.

It was lovely.

I even shot a quick video so you could see what the beach was like.

To my surprise, there were even cool birds at the beach.

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American Oystercatcher

 

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Royal Terns

I actually spent a couple of hours on the beach. I did a bit of shopping before dinner. I wasn’t very hungry (surprised?), so I popped into Whataburger for a lite and fast meal.

Good thing it was fast. I hadn’t been paying attention to the time. Upon exiting the restaurant, I noticed the sun was setting.

I hustled back to the Port Aransas Nature Preserve, which is actually on the eastern side of the Corpus Christi shipping channel, and captured some sunset shots.

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Painted Sky

I actually thought I’d missed the main event.

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Painted Sky

It actually got better. I’ll share a couple more sunset captures later.

If you can’t wait and/or want to see more pics from Sunday, they’re on Flickr and can be seen here.

Thanks for touring along with me. Did the bid shots bore you stiff?

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4 Comments  to  Sunday: Happy Bird Day, To Me

  1. bob skoot says:

    Kathy:

    I had never seen some of those birds before. We only have seagulls and a few herons around here. You are good at doing your research. I think I would have had the buffet too, I also like Bacon with my eggs, but over easy. I don’t mind them running a bit and then I soak it up with the hashbrowns or toast

    You had the whole beach to yourself. I like to walk in the water too. The sand is good for your skin.

    bob
    A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

    • ToadMama says:

      Bob, I think you would like Texas. You can camp right on the beach, too. And have campfires. I’m not sure if there’s a fee.

      We do see shore birds around here (near our coast), but not the same ones. Not only is Texas in the south, that area is on the migratory path.

      I wish I’d had more time at the beach. The water was warm enough for swimming.

  2. Beautiful captures!

  3. […] Monday came far too quickly. Though, I must say, I really enjoyed my day full of birds on Sunday. […]